Bombings in Iraq.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ako Rasheed)
BAGHDAD- Car and roadside bombs killed at least 43 people in cities and
towns across Iraq on Tuesday, police and hospital sources said,
extending a spate of violence ahead of next week's Arab League summit in
The meeting is seen as the country's debut on the regional stage
following the withdrawal of US troops in December and Iraq's government
is anxious to show it can reinforce security to host its neighbors.
The deadliest attack on Tuesday occurred in the southern Shi'ite Muslim
holy city of Kerbala, where twin explosions killed 13 people and wounded
48, according to Jamal Mahdi, a Kerbala health department spokesman.
"The second explosion caused the biggest destruction. I saw body parts,
fingers, hands thrown on the road," 23-year-old shop owner Murtadha Ali
Kadhim told Reuters.
Blasts also occurred in Kirkuk, Baiji, Samarra, Tuz Khurmato, Daquq and
Dhuluiya, all north of Baghdad, in Ramadi in the west, and Hilla,
Latifiya and Mahmudiya in the south.
The toll from all the bombings stood at 43 killed and 232 wounded. On
Monday evening, bombers struck five times in the northern province of
Diyala, killing at least three people and wounding more than 30, police
Security forces are frequently targeted in Iraq, where bombings and
shootings still occur on a daily basis and Sunni Muslim insurgents and
Shi'ite militias are still capable of carrying out lethal attacks.
Although overall violence has declined since the height of sectarian
fighting in 2006 and 2007, many Iraqis worry whether their government
has the wherewithal to impose security nine years after the US-led
invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein.
The Arab League summit is due to be held in Baghdad on March 27-29, the
first time Iraq will host the event in more than 20 years.